by Brian Washington
Members of the U.S. Senate are looking at amendments to the Strengthening America’s Schools Act (S. 1094)—legislation designed to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the K-12 law otherwise known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Take Action ›
Email your elected officials and tell them what you want to see in the ESEA reauthorization. Click here ›
The Strengthening America’s Schools Act was introduced last week by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and is one of several bills on the Hill designed to remake NCLB. Other measures include legislation sponsored by Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and House Bill 5, which represents the U.S. House of Representatives’ attempt at overhaul the law.
It is long past time to replace No Child Left Behind with a fair, flexible, and innovative law that leads to real, sustainable opportunities for all of our students to succeed—that is the message recently delivered to Senators on behalf of 3 million educators nationwide.
In a letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the National Education Association—which represents the teachers and education support professionals who work in our public schools—is calling on committee members to keep fairness, equity, and shared responsibility “front and center” in order to succeed at providing all students with a great public education. It has also outlined several strengths and challenges linked to the Harkin bill. Among the legislation’s strengths:
- It recognizes the value of early childhood education by supporting the development and implementation of early learning guidelines;
- It requires states to publish equity report cards; and
- Calls for the establishment of teacher evaluations using multiple measures and educator input.
Some of educators’ concerns about the bill include:
- It does not do enough to ensure equity;
- Continues to narrowly focus school accountability on assessments, and fails to address shortcomings in the current approach to assessing students with disabilities; and
- Provides little charter school accountability or public transparency.
In a separate letter, NEA has also outlined its positions on several amendments proposed for the Harkin Bill.
Click here to tell your elected officials what you think should be in the ESEA law. And if you want to know how you can impact the laws that impact students, educators, and our public schools, click here.